We unveil our all-Howard County team of the decade (2010-11 through 2019-20).
Boys Runner of the Decade: Anish Nanjappa (River Hill High School, Class of 2020)
Photo by John Roemer
Personal Bests: 14:57 3M, 15:51 5K
Medals: 2 county, 2 region, 2 state
Nanjappa debuted for the Hawks in 2016 at the tail end of their three-year winning streak at the 3A state championships and was an integral part of that team. He finished in the top ten at both counties and regionals and was the top freshman finisher (15th) at the state meet. As a sophomore he finished in the top three at the Howard County and William and Mary invitationals, as well as the 2A South regional meet. He didn't earn his first major win until the fall of 2018 when he won the small school race at Frank Keyser, which jumpstarted a winning streak that ran all the way through the 2A state meet. Those winning ways became the defining theme of his senior season as Nanjappa did not lose a single race through the state meet this fall. His performances included course records at the Seahawk Invitational and Howard County Championships, a sub-15 three-mile performance at Frank Keyser and his second straight sweep of county, regional and state titles. With his individual success came renewed success on the state level for the Hawks, who won all three championship races behind Nanjappa's performances. He concluded his career with a 15:51 5K personal best at NXR Southeast.
Nanjappa's 15:43 time at the post-2013 Hereford course ranks fifth in course history. He is one of five boys to have run a sub-15 three mile this decade (and the only Howard County runner). He holds three mile course records at both South River and Centennial high schools. Nanjappa is the only runner to win multiple Howard County and regional titles this decade.
Baidy Ba (Oakland Mills High School, Class of 2021)
Photo by John Roemer
Personal Bests: 15:30 3M, 16:25 5K
Medals: 1 region
In Ba's first season of cross country, he placed just outside the top 15 at both the Howard County Championships and the 2A South regionals. After a breakout sophomore season on the track during which he ran 9:50, Ba was a force on the course as a junior. He finished no lower than fourth in any race this past fall, including second-place finishes at Bull Run and the county championships and wins at both the Georgetown Prep Classic and 2A West regionals (an upset victory over eventual state champion Kyle Lund). Ba was also part of one of the most exciting state championship races of the decade; although he eventually finished fourth at the 2A state meet, Ba was still in the mix with about a quarter mile to go, and his time broke Anish Nanjappa's 2A state meet record on the post-2013 Hereford course.
Ba currently ranks third on the Centennial three-mile course leaderboard behind Nanjappa and Arundel's Tanner Piotrowski. His 15:54 time at Hereford ranks 17th on the post-2013 course, and third among Howard County runners. His 16:25 time at the Georgetown Prep Classic is the fastest time by a Howard County runner at the meet this decade, and fifth among all runners on Georgetown Prep's course.
Robby Creese (Glenelg High School, Class of 2011)
Photo by Frank Locascio
Personal Bests: 16:39 3M, 15:42 5K
Medals: 1 county, 2 region, 2 state
A middle-distance star on the track, Creese put together an impressive cross country resumé while at Glenelg High School as well. Creese joined the cross country team in 2009 as a junior, already with a 1600 state title under his belt. Throughout the first half of the year he finished no lower than third at any race, and would go on to sweep his way through counties, regionals and states (where Glenelg finished second as a team). Creese finished his junior season with a sixth-place finish at the Battle of the Potomac and 41st-place effort at Footlocker Northeast. After a dominant junior track season that included a 4:10 mile, Creese returned to the course in 2010 and immediately started picking up more victories. After a ten-day stretch where he finished 11th at the Georgetown Prep Classic and third at counties, he got back to his winning ways at regionals and states. He ran 44 seconds faster at the state meet as a senior than he had a year before; his victory once again led to a Glenelg second-place finish, their most recent podium finish. Creese's career concluded with a 15:42 effort at Nike Cross Southeast.
Since 2000, Creese is one of only four county runners (Nanjappa, Atholton's Andrew Revelle and Oakland Mills' Izudin Mehmedovic) to win multiple XC state titles. Creese's 15:42 5K personal best is second among Howard County runners this decade. Creese also owns the fifth-fastest 5K time of the decade at Centennial High School among county runners (the course was contested as a 5K from 2010-2014; afterward, the course was altered and the length changed to three miles).
College: Penn State University
Personal Bests: 17:29 6K, 24:16 8K, 24:16 5M, 30:46 10K
Nicholas Deamer (Howard High School, Class of 2018)
Photo by Melissa Rose
Personal Bests: 15:06 3M, 15:53 5K
Medals: 1 county
Deamer joined the Howard team as part of a major youth movement that led to their rise as one of the top teams in the state during his time as a Lion. As a sophomore, he finished third, fifth and eighth at counties, regionals and states, respectively, and four separate 5K performances at 16:35 or faster. Deamer picked up his first major win as a junior at the Gunpowder Invitational, one of four sub-16:15 performances on the season. During his senior season in the fall of 2017, Deamer won twice at Centennial High School (Howard County invitational and championships), while also clocking a 15:06 three mile performance at Frank Keyser and a 15:56 5K at regionals, where he finished second. Deamer finished third at the 4A state championships where the Lions also finished in the top five for the second time in three years. His final performance was a 15:53 5K personal best at NXR Southeast where he placed 36th.
Deamer's 15:06 three mile personal best ranks as the second-fastest by a Howard County runner this decade behind only Nanjappa (and more than 20 seconds faster than the next runner). It's also the tenth-fastest by any Maryland runner over the same time span. He is one of just four county runners to have broken 16 minutes on the post-2013 Hereford course, which he did at the 2017 state meet.
College: Penn State University (club)
Personal Bests: 25:57 8K
Deamer finished 43rd at the 2019 NIRCA National Championships, finishing sixth on a Penn State team that won the team title. He ran an 8K personal best at the 2019 NIRCA Mid-Atlantic regionals where he finished 18th.
Christopher Heydrick (River Hill High School, Class of 2015)
Photo by Phil Grove
Personal Bests: 15:29 3M, 15:57 5K
Medals: 2 county, 1 region
Chris Heydrick made an immediate impact as a freshman at River Hill, finishing fourth (no other freshman has finished higher than eighth at the county championships this decade). He broke 17 minutes in the 5K for the first time as a sophomore and improved from 27th to 14th at the state championships. It was during his junior year in 2013 that he truly broke out. He picked up his first major win and championship medal at the Howard County Championships, was the runner-up at the 3A East regional and turned in a top-five finish at the state championship. In the first race of his senior season, he broke 16 minutes for the first and only time (15:57 at the Hood College Invitational). Heydrick won his second straight county title by a 20-second margin in October, then won his first regional title back on the same course at Centennial nine days later. Heydrick's final race was a third-place effort at the 3A state championship; while he didn't complete the championship season sweep, he did lead the Hawks to team victories at all three races, including their first of three straight state titles.
Heydrick and fellow Hawk Nanjappa are the only two repeat Howard County champions of the decade. His 16:11 time from the 2014 3A East regional meet is the fastest 5K clocked at Centennial from 2010-2014, before the course was changed to its current three mile format. Heydrick is one of six boys (five from Maryland) to have run under 16 minutes at the Hood College Blazers invitational, which has been active since 2014. His 15:29 three mile and 15:57 5K times are the third and seventh fastest times clocked by a Howard County runner this decade.
College: University of Connecticut
Kai Muniz (Reservoir High School, Class of 2018)
Photo by Lisa McArthur
Personal Bests: 16:05 3M, 16:03 5K
Medals: 1 region
Muniz's improvement can be easily traced throughout his four years at Reservoir. He ran 18:33 as a freshman, then shaved well over a minute off his personal best at Great American as a sophomore (17:03) and would go on to finish 31st at the 3A State Championships. As a junior, Muniz became a contender in the county; after three 5K performances between 16:50 and 17:05, he finished seventh at the Howard County Championships, fifth at the 3A East regionals and 13th at the state meet. As a senior, he finished no lower than fifth at any of the major meets he ran at, which included races at Great American, Spiked Shoe and Glory Days. Muniz was the runner-up at the county championships as a senior, then picked up the only major win of his career as a Gator at the 2017 3A East regional meet. His third-place finish at the state meet marked the only time a Reservoir boy finished in the top ten at the state meet throughout the decade. In his final high school cross country race, Muniz ran 16:03 at NXR Southeast, the fastest 5K performance by a Reservoir runner of the decade.
His 16:03 5K personal best is tenth-fastest by a county runner this decade. Muniz is the only Reservoir runner to have finished lower than tenth overall at the state meet (the school opened in 2002). Behind Muniz, the Gators finished third at states in 2016 and fourth in 2017; they have not finished higher than seventh in any other year.
College: University of Kentucky
Personal Bests: 25:50 8K
After competing for the Wildcats' club team as a freshman in 2018, Muniz joined Kentucky's varsity team in 2019 and ran 25:50 at the Louisville Classic.
Daniel Rau (Howard High School, Class of 2013)
Photo by Don Rich
Personal Bests: 16:20 3M, 16:23 5K
Medals: 1 county
As a sophomore, Rau earned all-region honors at the 3A East meet in 2010. He took a big step forward between his sophomore and junior seasons; he broke 17 minutes for the first time at the Gunpowder Invitational, improved from 22nd to seventh at the county meet and shaved a minute off of his time at the state championships from 2010 to 2011. The leap he took between his junior and senior seasons may have been even more prolific. He won his first major race at Scorpion Crawl in early October of 2012, although his true breakout may have been at the Howard County Championships where he beat the 2011 runner-up Tim Virostek for the title. In a state meet preview he finished second at the 3A East regional to Annapolis senior Hale Bullen, who also beat Rau in a thrilling 3A state race that saw three boys finish within a span of three seconds. Rau's runner-up effort was the highest placing at states by a Lion since Joey Thompson won in 2007. Incredibly, he shaved exactly a minute off his state meet time on the same course for the third year in a row (18:20 as a sophomore, 17:20 as a junior, 16:20 as a senior). Rau rounded out his Howard cross country career with a 27th-place finish at the Foot Locker Northeast regional.
Between 2010 and 2012 (the years the old Hereford three mile course was active), Rau's 16:20 time ranked sixth (fifth by a Maryland runner and first by a Howard County runner). By finishing 27th in the championship race at Foot Locker Northeast in 2012, he has the ninth-highest finish of the decade at the meet by a Maryland runner.
College: Virginia Tech University
Personal Bests: 18:16 6K, 24:41 8K, 31:03 10K
Rau twice competed at the ACC Championships for the Hokies, finishing 61st as a senior in 2016 (he also ran his 8K personal best at the meet). Rau competed once at the NCAA D1 Southeast championships, placing 66th in 2016.
All-County Second Team:
Jacob Cole (Centennial High School, Class of 2021)
Alec Font (Centennial High School, Class of 2014)
Joey Navarro (Oakland Mills High School, Class of 2017)
Rahul Reddy (River Hill High School, Class of 2017)
Trent Rose (River Hill High School, Class of 2016)
Eric Schuler (Reservoir High School, Class of 2011)
Tim Virostek (Wilde Lake High School, Class of 2013)
Table of Champions:
2010 (Centennial HS 5K): Eric Schuler (Reservoir) - 16:43
2011: Gary Smolyak (Atholton) - 17:20
2012: Daniel Rau (Howard) - 17:10
2013: Christopher Heydrick (River Hill) - 16:37
2014: Christopher Heydrick (River Hill) - 16:39
2015 (Centennial HS 3M): Trent Rose (River Hill) - 16:13
2016: Rahul Reddy (River Hill) - 15:58
2017: Nicholas Deamer (Howard) - 15:41
2018: Anish Nanjappa (River Hill) - 15:54
2019: Anish Nanjappa (River Hill) - 15:21
Girls Runner of the Decade: Brit Lang (Oakland Mills High School, Class of 2016)
Photo by Rollie Jacobs
Personal Bests: 18:28 3M, 18:15 5K
Medals: 2 county, 2 region, 1 state
Lang's high school career started with a bang as a freshman as she won the 2A South regional and the 2A state title in 2012. She won by nearly 30 seconds and her 19:21 time was the third-fastest of the day across all classifications. However, it wouldn't be until her junior season in 2014 that she won another championship season title at the Howard County Championships (the first county title of her career). She was also the 2A South runner-up that year and a top-five finisher at states. During her senior cross country season Lang found the consistency to be considered among the state's top runners. She won four invites in the fall of 2015 (including on her own course at the Scorpion Crawl Invitational for the fourth time) and also won her second county and regional titles. Lang finished as the 2A state runner-up in her senior season behind Patuxent's Hayley Jackson, and she rounded out her career at Oakland Mills with a 16th-place finish at Foot Locker Northeast.
Lang won the Scorpion Crawl Invitational (Oakland Mills' home course) all four times in her career and was one of just two girls this decade, along with Hannah Oneda, to have broken 19 minutes at the meet. Her 18:42 performance at the Foot Locker Northeast regional in 2015 is the ninth-fastest time at the race by a Maryland girl since 2010. Lang holds both the three mile (18:34) and 5K (19:05) course records at Centennial High School, each set in her two Howard County victories. Lang was one of five freshman girls to win a state title this decade.
College: North Florida University/University of Maryland
Personal Bests: 17:54 5K, 20:40 6K
In her only season at North Florida, Lang finished 15th at the Atlantic Sun Championships and 87th at the NCAA DI South regionals. At the University of Maryland Lang has finished 61st or better three times at the Mid-Atlantic regionals, including a 16th-place finish in 2019 where she also ran her 6k personal best. She also placed 38th at the 2019 Big Ten Championships.
Amanda Eliker (Howard High School, Class of 2020)
Photo by JOhn Roemer
Personal Bests: 18:03 3M, 19:14 5K
Medals: 2 county, 1 region
Eliker's cross country career at Howard began in 2017 as a sophomore; she medaled at both the Howard County Championships (seventh) and 4A North regionals (12th). As a junior, however, she immediately broke out and quickly rose the state leaderboards, finishing in the top five at four separate invitationals and clocking an 18:03 three-mile personal best at Frank Keyser. Behind Eliker the Lions gained momentum as a team as well, winning the Westminster Invitational and finishing second at three other invites. Both Eliker and the Lions broke through at the county meet where Eliker won her first title. She also led the Howard girls to a runner-up team finish at the state meet, where she finished fifth herself. The Lions rose to the top of the state rankings during her senior season and she led them at the Seahawk and Bull Run invitationals before missing the Great American XC Festival. She returned in time to win her second consecutive county title and capture her first regional title in October. Eliker finished her Howard cross country career with a fourth-place finish at the state meet, leading Howard to its first state title since 2007.
Eliker holds the second-fastest time on Centennial High School's three mile course (active since 2015). Her 18:03 three-mile personal best is the second-fastest time by a Howard County runner this decade. Among Howard County runners, only Brit Lang has recorded a faster time on the post-2013 Hereford course.
Allison Krein (River Hill High School, Class of 2015)
Photo by Scott Reid
Personal Bests: 17:46 3M, 18:47 5K
Medals: 1 region
Krein's cross country career began during her sophomore year with a season of track already under her belt. It didn't take her long to settle in as she won the second race she ran (the Howard County Invitational). Krein finished no lower than fifth at any race she ran as a sophomore, which included her only 3A East regional title and a second-place finish at the 3A state meet. As a junior, she finished third or better at every race except for the state meet (where she finished fourth). Her performances included personal bests in both the three mile (17:46 at Frank Keyser) and 5K (18:47 at Georgetown Prep). In 2014, Krein placed sixth at the 3A East regionals and eighth at the 3A state meet. Although it was her lowest finish at the state meet, she also led the Hawks to their first state title since winning three in a row from 2007-2009.
Krein and Centennial's Shreya Nalubola were the only two Howard County girls this decade to finish eighth or higher three times at the 3A or 4A state championships. Her 17:46 performance at Frank Keyser in 2013 was the fastest time by a Howard County runner this decade by 17 seconds. It's also the ninth-fastest time at Frank Keyser since 2010.
College: Howard Community College/Johns Hopkins University/Oregon State University (club)
Season Bests: 17:21 4K, 20:04 5K, 23:45 6K
Krein ran her fastest time at Johns Hopkins (25:42) at the 2015 Paul Short Run and finished 35th at that year's Centennial Conference Championships. As a member of the Oregon State club team in 2018 she ran a 6K personal best of 23:45, and in 2019 she was the fifth runner for the Oregon State team that finished second at NIRCA Nationals.
Tiffany Lang (Oakland Mills High School, Class of 2012)
Photo by Don Rich
Personal Bests: 19:33 3M, 19:05 5K
Medals: 1 county, 1 region
Tiffany Lang made an immediate impact for the Scorpions as a freshman in the fall of 2008. She was a top-five finisher at both the Howard County Championships and 2A East regionals, and finished seventh at the 2A state meet (with the third-fastest freshman time across all classifications). She continued to improve all the way through her junior season, where she placed third at the county meet, second at regionals and sixth at the state meet (at the time, her highest finishes at all three races). That fall she finished in the top ten at every race except for the Bull Run Invitational and Foot Locker Northeast regional (77th). It wasn't until her senior season in 2011 that she won her first races as she captured both the Howard County and 2A South regional titles, followed by her best state-meet finish (second). She rounded out her career by finishing 43rd at Foot Locker Northeast.
Her 20:10 performance at Foot Locker Northeast as a senior ranks among the top 30 performances by a Maryland runner this decade (and second by a Howard County runner behind only her sister). Lang's 19:25 time on the Centennial 5K course ranks third from 2010-2014 when the course was contested. Between 2010 and 2012 only three other Howard County runners ran faster than Lang did at Hereford.
College: University of North Carolina-Charlotte
Personal Bests: 15:16 4K, 18:12 5K, 22:41 6K
Lang ran a 5K college personal best at the 2013 Queens Royal XC Challenge. She set her 6K personal best at the 2015 Charlotte XC Invitational. She twice finished in the top 50 at the Conference USA Championships, and she competed once at the NCAA DI Southeast regional, finishing 101st.
Shreya Nalubola (Centennial High School, Class of 2015)
Photo by Jon Fleming
Personal Bests: 18:52 3M, 18:18 5K
Medals: 2 county, 2 region, 1 state
Nalubola broke out on the course as a sophomore in 2012 and immediately became one of the state's top runners. Her ninth-place finish that year in her first race (the Interstate Classic) was the only time she did not finish in the top three. She won her first Howard County title that year, followed by a runner-up performance at the 3A East regional and third-place finish at the state meet. Nalubola took her game to another level as a junior in 2013; a third-place finish at Spiked Shoe (18:51) and second-place finish at Barnhart (18:18) were the only races she did not win through the state meet. Between October 5 and November 9, she won five consecutive races by an average of 26 seconds. Her performances also led the Eagles to their second state title in school history. She placed 41st at NXN Southeast with a time of 18:59. Nalubola wasn't quite as dominant during her senior season, but she defended both her Howard County Invitational and 3A East regional titles while placing third at the 3A state meet.
Nalubola's 18:18 5K personal best ranks second among Howard County runners this decade behind Brit Lang. Her 19:09 performance on the Centennial High School 5K course also ranks second among all runners. She ranks fourth (and first among county runners) on Dulaney High School's course since 2010. Nalubola is the only Howard County runner, male or female, to have finished in the top three at the state meet three separate times this decade.
Gabby Rayner (Howard High School, Class of 2014)
Photo by Jon Fleming
Personal Bests: 19:37 3M, 18:39 5K
Medals: 1 region
Rayner broke through at the 2013 Barnhart Invitational as a junior, where she cracked the 20-minute barrier for the first time in a top-15 performance. Rayner went on to finish seventh at the Howard County Championships (a 26-place improvement from her sophomore season) and sixth at the 4A North regional. She just missed out on a medal at the 4A state meet where she finished 27th. Rayner took another leap into her senior season in 2014, which included top-ten performances at the Seahawk and Bull Run invitationals. She broke 19 minutes for the first time in a victorious performance at the Barnhart Invitational, then returned in October to win the 4A North regional title and set a 5K personal best. Rayner finished eighth at the 4A state meet, where her 19:37 time was the fifth-fastest by a county runner across all classifications. Her final race was an 18:47 performance at NXN Southeast, good for 62nd place.
Rayner's 18:39 5K personal best was the fourth-fastest by a Howard County runner this decade. Her 19:37 performance at the state meet ranks ninth by a Howard County runner on the post-2013 course at Hereford. Rayner ran the fifth-fastest time by a Howard County runner on the 5K course at Centennial High School between 2010 and 2014. She also holds the top Howard County performance at Nike Cross Southeast over the decade.
College: University of Central Florida
Personal Bests: 20:25 5K, 24:11 6K
Rayner ran her 6K personal best for Central Florida at the 2015 American Athletic Conference Championship, where she placed 91st.
Jasmine Tiamfook (River Hill High School, Class of 2018)
Photo by Craig Amoss
Personal Bests: 18:25 3M, 18:58 5K
Medals: 2 county, 2 region
Tiamfook made an immediate impact for River Hill as a freshman in 2014. She finished in the top ten at both counties and regionals and 11th at the 3A state meet, helping the Hawks sweep the team titles in all three races. Tiamfook picked up her first win of her cross country career as a sophomore at the Hood College Invitational, where she also ran her 5K personal best of 18:58. She was the regional-runner up in 2015 and finished in the top ten at the state meet for the first time. She continued to take steps forward as a junior, lowering her three-mile personal best to 18:37 and winning both county and regional titles. Tiamfook placed seventh at states for the second year in a row (while running nearly 30 seconds faster) and leading River Hill back to the podium in a second-place effort. As a senior Tiamfook won the small school race at Frank Keyser, where she set a three-mile personal best, and repeated as the Howard County champion. She also won the 2A South regional (as River Hill was moved down to the 2A classification) and enjoyed her highest finish at the state meet (fourth) of her career.
Tiamfook is just one of two Howard County girls this decade to win county and regional titles in back-to-back seasons. She is also the only girl on this list to have helped her team to three podium finishes (top two) at the state level throughout her career.
College: University of Maryland
Personal Bests: 20:15 5K, 24:13 6K
Tiamfook ran a 24:13 personal best in 2018 at the Big Ten Championships, where she finished 121st.
All-County Second Team:
Nimrit Ahuja (Howard High School, Class of 2022)
Carly Albright (Marriotts Ridge High School, Class of 2015)
Emily Beyer (Mount Hebron High School, Class of 2018)
Sara Kindbom (Howard High School, Class of 2021)
Faith Meininger (River Hill High School, Class of 2021)
Karli Smiraglia (Reservoir High School, Class of 2014)
Rachel Yep (Mount Hebron High School, Class of 2013)
Table of Champions:
2010 (Centennial HS 5K): LeAnne Young (River Hill) - 20:16
2011: Tiffany Lang (Oakland Mills) - 19:43
2012: Shreya Nalubola (Centennial) - 19:46
2013: Shreya Nalubola (Centennial) - 19:02
2014: Brit Lang (Oakland Mills) - 19:05
2015 (Centennial HS 3M): Brit Lang (Oakland Mills) - 18:28
2016: Jasmine Tiamfook (River Hill) - 18:48
2017: Jasmine Tiamfook (River Hill) - 19:01
2018: Amanda Eliker (Howard) - 18:52
2019: Amanda Eliker (Howard) - 18:36